Interview and performance with the Invisible Folk Club, 9th November 2019

The Invisible Folk Club is a UK based, virtual, folk club that encourages and enables authentic music, both ancient and modern, through the production of radio programmes and podcasts.  These programmes are played on community radio stations and later released as podcasts. The club is the brainchild of Jon Bickley and Stephen Yarwood and Rob and I were honoured to be invited to participate in the recording of a future podcast.

The shows have a late-night, relaxed, feel which intersperses discussion and musical performances and are usually recorded at Jon’s house in Chesham.  As such, it was an easy journey for Rob and me to make - with only the slightest hint of Christmas shopping beginning to cause chaos at the ‘magic roundabout’ in Hemel Hempstead (six mini-roundabouts around one central roundabout!) to give us any travel issues.

We arrived in Chesham at 2.00pm and, with the rain pelting down, were pleased to see Jon ready to usher us quickly into the dry of his house. We didn’t quite know what to expect but Jon soon put a cup of tea into our mits and us at our ease.  After that, the afternoon simply whizzed by. 

Jon had clearly done his research and had some great questions to ask us.  These ranged from how Rob and I came to perform together, how we go about our business as a folk act (e.g. how we market ourselves and get gigs, the importance of blogging and social media, how to make the best of a website, how we put our sets together, etc), through to our connections with organisations not directly connected to folk music but are open to it as part of what they do (e.g. historical societies, political organisations, etc) and, finally, through to some wider questions about the issues facing the current folk club scene.   All of this was interspersed with us performing songs and tunes to punctuate the conversation or provide examples of what we’d just been talking about.

Our recording is now in production with Jon’s colleague, Stephen Yarwood, and the finished programme/podcast should be broadcast early in the New Year.   Many thanks to Jon for the initial invitation to join the podcast and for his hospitality and thoughtful questioning throughout our time together.  We very much look forward to hearing the finished podcast.

The Invisible Folk Club’s weekly programmes can be heard on four community radio stations between Doncaster to Cornwall, and as podcasts on Mixcloud, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Tunein and elsewhere.  (To date, the podcasts have had over 11,000 downloads.) Details can all be found on The Invisible Folk Club website,  https://invisiblefolkclub.com/   .